Lou Rugani has announced his departure from the radio station WLIP 1050 today after working at the station for 31 years. He also did a short stint from 1974 to 1975 where he went by “Lou Bruno.”
“All of the radio guys were using radio names back then, so did I.” Rugani said in a phone interview with KCE Monday night.
Rugani is the son of an Italian immigrant. His father, Silvio Rugani, came to the United States of America from Italy when he was 17. “My dad was a great man,” Rugani told KCE Editor Kevin Mathewson. ” You would have liked him and he would’ve liked you.” He worked at a copper mine in Michigan for seven years. He met his wife Katherine and the two married in 1922 and moved to Kenosha. Rugani was born 18 years later in 1940. Rugani has no brothers or sisters. Rugani grew up on the northwest side of Kenosha near Hobbes Park.
He attended St. Mary’s High School on 39th Ave, graduating in 1958. Rugani took a job at AMC and worked for 10 years. “It paid well, but the job monotonous and it was hot.” Rugani took a chance On January 2, 1969. He walked into WAXO radio station on 67th St just East of Green Bay road. He asked loudly “You need any announcers?” “Hell ya,” the radio station manager Darrell Gorr replied. “When can you start?” To which Rugani replied, “tomorrow.” And that he did. On January 3, 1969 Rugani began his career in radio broadcast. He started with vinyl records and later, tapes, cd’s and finally, digital files. The station liked Rugani’s voice that was the quintessential voice for radio. Rugani played ez-listening and popular hits. A station out of Zion, IL bought the station and the new bosses put Rugani on nights. “It was very lonesome and boring,” said Rugani.
Rugani went to work in radio all over the area – WLUV in Rockford, WEXI Stereo Excitement in Chicago, WSTK in Woodstock, IL and finally, 1050 WLIP. He started in 1992 and started the “Big Band Sow.” He then coined the phrase and program, “Music of the Stars.”
Rugani was always known for ending each show with “please keep your dreams alive.” The day after Labor Day in 2007, Rugani started the show that he hosted until today at about 10:30 am- “Remembering Kenosha.” It was quite popular with Kenosha listeners. The phone rang non-stop with people calling in to reminisce about the good ole days. Rugani then started a Sunday show, “Music of The Stars.”
Rugani was a little upset Monday night, because he believes all of his archived videos and research had been wiped clean from WLIP servers. We reached out to station manager Carl Wertzler and he didn’t immediately respond.
Today on the air, was very different than most days. Many called called in and were in disbelief that Rugani was no longer working for WLIP. “Today will be a day that will live in infamy for WLIP. I’m so stunned by this shake-up said one caller.” Many others echoed the sentiment.
“I want to thank all my listeners from the bottom of my heart, not only for calling in today with your kind words, but the many Facebook posts and emails I received. My listeners contributed greatly to my show every day. I really enjoyed helping folks get in the radio and broadcasting business, but it isn’t for everyone.”
When asked if he will retire, Rugani’s answer was concise – “I’m a broadcaster and that’s what I do. The world is wide open. I’ll retire when I die.”